Sunday, August 24, 2014

June

That June, I was on my back in daisies,
happy, high as a goldfinch on a space station.

Wait, what June?
There was no June like that.

Having begun with lies, let me continue,
but this time with bigger better lies, whoppers, impossible bullshit...

I played autoharp at Woodstock,
and made out with June Carter Cash.
On my back in daisies, out on the fringes of Yasgur's farm,
happy, tripping on chords I scored from Joni Mitchell on stage the night before.

Well that's all crap.
I was studying maps of South America in grade school,
braces on my teeth policing every word I said.
But I could sing "Jackson", both parts. So eat shit.

If I were still the debutante I once was,
poised at the top of the staircase, holding a wheelbarrow,
eager to collect my portion of gilded horse manure from the polo pasture of old Birmingham,

I wouldn't be so coarse.
June wouldn't have turned to October,
whites and yellows to browns and deep reds.

When the sun goes down, 
I like to sit in the high weeds next to the Walter P. Reuther expressway.
I am the girl guitarist of the goldenrod,
wailing blues for Toyotas and Subarus,
those invasive species that killed Detroit.

Here is the truth.
I have about reached the limit of how much shit I can take.
If Pontiac and Mercury can disappear, what can be depended upon?
A dog. Goddess bless dogs, but a morsel can distract them.

I'm wondering what can be depended upon,
when June Carter Cash must be about a hundred years old, and Johnny's gone altogether;
Carlene Carter isn't blonde anymore,
and even Emmylou Harris can't get Graham back.

Here in the goldenrod, I'm sober as a Baptist raccoon in a church attic,
six hundred miles and forty-five years from Woodstock,
but I can't help wondering if there might be a mulligan god,
whipping out second chances
and bootleg versions

of Pontiacs and Mercs,
old country singers,
and debs who kicked off their shoes
and barefooted it all the way from Birmingham to You Are Here, USA.
______

from a word list provided by mood wings.

note: June Carter Cash died in 2003. Young me always thought she was pretty dishy.


  

16 comments:

mood wings said...

You would not believe the width of my grin over this. I will save my longer comment for after the others. This is fantastic fun! SO well imagined and written.

I absolutely love "Having begun with lies, let me continue." Killer work.

hedgewitch said...

Another variation on the vagaries of memory and persona theme, yet in the end we are always finding the same things out about ourselves--why are they such a surprise? We wonder what would be if we had made different choices, but if we were whisked back to the choice-making point, how many would we actually be able to do differently? I love the picture of the narrator as 'the girl guitarist of the goldenrod' imaginary or not(and one of my favorite Emmy Lou songs, btw.) There is regret and loss in this poem, but also wisdom and love and resignation; that is, all the things which carry us through, along with trusting the only thing we can trust in a world of undependable things, ourselves, even if sometimes we are not any more dependable than the world around us--we try, and that is our salvation.

This is just such a luminous,deep,shimmering poem of the journey we are all on, Shay-- a travel adventure for girls that becomes its own destination. Fine writing,too--but you knew that.

TexWisGirl said...

another great romp through your mind. :)

Cloudia said...

Wish I could sit with you reading your own words to you so you could see the joy on my face over the gem phrases and meanings here. I was at Woodstock. Muddy, crowded, ecstatic. I love your work♥😸🌟

Cloudia said...

Shared with the best writer I know who is my pal and already a fan of yours. How are you not too famous?

Kerry O'Connor said...

Your uniquely brilliant turns of phrase are on stunning display in this poem.

These lines a microcosm of the whole:

I am the girl guitarist of the goldenrod,
wailing blues for Toyotas and Subarus,
those invasive species that killed Detroit.

mood wings said...

This is flipping fantastic: "Here is the truth. I have about reached the limit of how much shit I can take." I absolutely concur.

I like the way you bounced the word "June" around, utilizing it in different ways.

Of course, I love what you did with the sound throughout. Things like:
back/happy
chords/scored/before
crap/maps
teeth/policing
portion/horse/coarse
blues/Subarus

"sober as a Baptist raccoon in a church attic" ... Perfect!

There's a double meaning here: "June wouldn't have turned to October" ... Seasons are changing, but also the girl may have turned to someone else, or just turned away from you and toward fall (and moving on), the season of loss, barrenness, and death.

I love this line: "whites and yellows to browns and deep reds" ... It makes me think of moving from little girls in summer dresses to grown women reading deep and thoughtful novels and poetry. Maybe even dying blonde hair darker (brown or red), going generally darker in one's older age. Becoming more pensive and introverted.

I like this too: "I'm wondering what can be depended upon,
when June Carter Cash must be about a hundred years old, and Johnny's gone altogether"

And the ending: "kicked off their shoes
and barefooted it all the way from Birmingham to You Are Here, USA"

Outlawyer said...

I love June Carter too, and Emmylou. Here there are a whole lot of boulders nearly blocking the way to Birmingham--(one of my favorite songs)--you cover a lot of territory, with energy and grace, wit and regret.

It is funny that I actually live quite close to Woodstock right now--it is still actually kind of woodstocky-- Thanks for cool poem and great prompts--k. (Manicddaily)

Lynn said...

My bleary-eyed thought process thought this would be about the month of June at first. Then I was thinking "it's not June is it?" #highoncoldmedicine

Love that Emmylou song!

Shadow said...

You analyse in colour and music. Loved this!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my God, you are writing straight to my heart. I think "I am sober as a Baptist raccoon in a church attic" is about as brilliant as writing gets. This is one fulsome wonder of a poem.

grapeling said...

love the unreliable narrator who thereby becomes more credible ... ~

Mama Zen said...

Oh, I love this!

Jannie Funster said...

I bet your teeth turned out nice and straight!!

Damn fine poem Shay, damn fine.

Sara said...

This made me LAUGH. First of all, the debutante part cracked me up because I actually was one. I had to get all gussied up in a white ball gown, gloves up to elbows and walk down this huge staircase in front of everyone without tripping, which I managed.

However, this was the 70s and I was walking on the wild side by that time. What I never told my mother was I wore my best faded thin jeans under the dress. As soon as the ball commenced, I escaped with my date and went to a less formal affair. I still have the dress believe it not. It's a bit faded now:~)

Now that I've talked about myself, I must say this poem was a favorite of mine, particularly these words:

"Here in the goldenrod, I'm sober as a Baptist raccoon in a church attic..."

I could read them again and again. Each time, I'd end up laughing at the image they evoke.

Hannah said...

Your first two lines!! The rest - you're the weaver of words and stories. Boo to you too. :)